(CNSNews.com) – White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Thursday of pushing for the largest cut to Medicare in decades by backing a repeal of the Inflation Reduction Act.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, President Biden called out Republicans during his State of the Union speech as wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare, but he later backtracked from that assertion during the speech after Republican outcry.
“Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage. I get it. Unless I agree to their economic plans. All of you at home should know what those plans are. Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans, Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” he said on Tuesday.
Then on Wednesday during a speech on the economy in DeForest, Wis., Biden called out Scott specifically as well as two other Republican senators, saying, “You know, I remind you that Rick Scott from Florida, the guy who ran the U.S. Senate campaign has a plan. I got his brochure right here. He has a plan. Here’s what he says in his plan. Let me open it up here.”
“He says all federal legislation sunsets every five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and by the way, you have a senator named Ron Johnson. Ron Johnson on Social Security and Medicare, ‘We should transfer everything so we have to consider everything every year.’ Come on, man,” the president said.
“Senator Rick Scott has responded, essentially saying the president should resign. He put out an ad in Florida accusing the president of cheating on his taxes and gutting Medicare. That’s his response. What’s the White House’s response?” a reporter asked the press secretary during a gaggle on board Air Force One en route to Tampa, Fla., on Thursday.
“Like CNN’s fact check just two nights ago verified as the president said, Scott’s proposal would sunset all federal legislation, including Medicare and Social Security. That has been fact-checked by one of your colleagues here, you know, network here, CNN. Speaking of fact-checks though, Senator Scott’s attack on us for lowering drug costs has been roundly debunked,” Jean-Pierre said.
“Senator Scott’s ad only cements that congressional Republicans are targeting Medicare. Repealing the AARP-backed Inflation Reduction Act that Scott’s now calling for would be the largest cut in Medicare benefits in decades. Every time Rick Scott opens his mouth, he proves the president’s point. He doubles down. He doesn’t step away. He actually doubles down as he did this morning,” she said.
“The man who got rich overseeing the biggest Medicare fraud in history – let’s not forget that – is protesting too much once again, so I’ll leave it there,” the press secretary said.
On Thursday, Scott lashed out at the president, calling him a “hypocrite,” pointing out that Biden himself had once advocated for the sunset of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid when he was a senator.
When asked about this on Thursday, the press secretary accused the senator of doubling down on his desire to sunset Medicare and Social Security and said that the bill Biden proposed in 1975 to sunset all federal programs every four years, including Social Security and Medicare “is not part of the president’s agenda.”
“On Senator Scott, what’s the difference between his legislation which proposes sunsetting federal programs and the president’s legislation that Biden introduced in 1975 as a senator? Is the only difference the fact that Biden’s no longer in favor of that or is there any other difference between those two?” a reporter asked.
“I’m just going to say this. The president ran on protecting Medicare and Social Security from cuts, and he reiterated that in the State of the Union. He’s been very clear these past couple of years. Rick Scott has the opposite point,” Jean-Pierre said.
“That’s just what’s seen from Rick Scott. He’s just doubling down, tripling down, quadrupling down on that, on his view and his plan that would sunset both programs, so Scott did that again just this week. I think he did that this morning,” the press secretary said.
“Meanwhile, he’s also pushing for the biggest Medicare cut in decades by wanting to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act. That is—when I was asked about what else he’s doing to strengthen Medicare, the Inflation Reduction Act actually does that, and if you cut it, that’s going to have huge ramifications as well, so a bill from the 1970s is not part of the president’s agenda,” she said.
“You have to listen to what the president has said the last couple of years about protecting and fighting for Medicare and Social Security, and that will remain the case. He was very clear when he spoke to millions of Americans at the State of the Union about that,” Jean-Pierre said.
“He’ll be clear today when he’s in Florida on what he sees the fight ahead and how important it is to protect again what taxpayers have paid into and what they deserve – Medicare and Social Security – something that if you’re thinking about it, you’re thinking about seniors and veterans, and this is something that he’s going to be a fighter on,” the press secretary said.
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